Andy Dalton can earn $7M in 2020 ... if he helps Dallas win the Super Bowl

Why the Cowboys don't fear starting the season with Andy Dalton (1:25)

Dan Orlovsky asserts that the signing of Andy Dalton gives the Cowboys an edge in contract talks with Dak Prescott. (1:25)

The one-year contract quarterback Andy Dalton agreed to Saturday with the Dallas Cowboys to be Dak Prescott's backup guarantees him $3 million -- a $1 million signing bonus and a $2 million base salary -- but could be worth up to $7 million.

So, what must Dalton do to earn the remaining $4 million? Help the Cowboys to a win in Super Bowl LV, and play 50 percent of the snaps in the biggest game of the year and 35% of the snaps in the regular season.

The Cowboys have not been to a Super Bowl since 1995 and Dalton has an 0-4 playoff record after a nine-year run with the Cincinnati Bengals. He helped Cincinnati to the postseason in each of his first five seasons, but lost all four of his playoff starts (he was injured for a 2015 playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers).

And, oh, by the way, Prescott has not missed a game in his career. His streak of 64 straight starts is the third longest by a quarterback in the NFL behind Philip Rivers (224) and Russell Wilson (128).

Here is a breakdown of the incentives in Dalton's Dallas deal:

  • If Dalton plays in half of the regular-season snaps and helps the Cowboys make the playoffs, he will earn an extra $1 million.

  • If he plays in 35% of the regular-season snaps, at least 50% of the playoff snaps and directs the Cowboys to wins in the first round ($500,000), second round ($500,000) and NFC Championship Game ($750,000), he will earn an extra $1.75 million.

  • If he wins the Super Bowl, while playing at least half of the snaps and 35% of the snaps in the regular-season, he will earn the final $1.25 million.

  • If the Cowboys earn a first-round bye in the playoffs and all of the aforementioned things happen, then he would earn a max of $6.5 million.

To Dalton, the contract guarantees $3 million to work about 30 minutes north of his Dallas home, at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

To owner and general manager Jerry Jones, that would be money well spent if Dalton could deliver after taking over for Prescott at some point in 2020.